Thursday, December 31, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow

at least for now I'm still loving it... if it's still this way in a month, I might go batty. Here are some pics I took of the kids out in the beautiful stuff. The kids were a teeny bit tired and grumpy though... does not make for the best of pictures, but we might have a chance to try again later.

At this point if you are wondering where the grumpy is... here ya go...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas 2009 Without Pictures

Not nary a one! I'm such a terrible photographer at times. Especially birthdays and Christmas because I seem to be one of the main organizers and facilitators leaving me a bit too busy to man the camera.

But Christmas went really well this year. It was quite quiet. My brother and Steven's brother were both at the in-laws for Christmas this year. Steven's extended family has moved into a new phase of life and everyone of the grandkids (meaning Steven's generation) has pretty much established their own households, which makes "getting together for the holidays" almost impossible anymore... which is kinda sad.

So we stayed home - literally - we didn't even have to get out of the house to go to a parents house. Both parents came to us on Christmas morning and we just spent the day together eating, resting and watching movies - oh yeah and opening gifts too.

Steven and I don't do the Santa thing for the kids - we are just spoil sports that way I guess... but the kids don't seem like they are missing out on things! Decidedly the opposite actually. They get spoiled at Christmas by the grandparents and this year was no exception... and they got some really fun gifts.

On our vacation to the gulf, one of the souvenirs we brought back was a pet hermit crab. Yes, we decided to delve into the responsibility brought by a pet... and to tell you the truth, I think we actually did pretty well to start out with the hermit crab - so far it's rather low maintenance and isn't dirty or smelly which is a definite plus.

Upon reading about the hermit crab, though, we discovered that they are rather social creatures after all. So for Christmas I went to the local pet store and got a friend for the Mississippi crab we named Ted. So Fred joined Ted as part of the kid's christmas from us. We also got them some art supplies (like paints) and we got them some of the Scholastic video collection, which they all enjoy.

The grandparents did the rest: marshmallow guns, snow sleds, legos, play mobile Pirates, and board games. Lillie got winter clothes and baby dolls and the kids loved every bit of it.

Steven and I received a deep freeze! So now we can bargain shop for our meat and other things! (Like all the day old bread Steven purchases... because he is addicted to the day old bread store!)

The snow sleds were put to quick use, because we had one of the first white Christmases that I can remember in a long time.

I am very thankful for all the things given to the kiddos and I love that it only took an afternoon to find a place for everything and to put away the Christmas. That is a good indicator to me that maybe we didn't go overboard afterall (relatively speaking anyway...)

I hope all of you had a very merry Christmas, and most importantly were able to reflect on importance of the holiday to begin with. Have a very blessed new year too!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

She's A Little Faker!

Who is? Lillie is, that's who.

Last night my mother-in-law took the kids for an over-nighter. We were all excited about this... Gloria had been away for a couple of weeks and needed a grandma fix, the kids needed a grandma fix, and I needed an alone by myself fix.

Around 9:00 pm the phone rings. It's Gloria and she's concerned about Lillie. That evening Lillie had started limping and favoring her right leg. By the time bedtime had rolled around Lillie was refusing to walk on it and would crawl around or put her hands up for someone to carry her around. The odd thing about it was that there was no massive accident or fall to cause an injury, nor was Lillie acting like she was in any pain. Gloria actually described her as quite happy and playful - she just wouldn't put any weight on that leg.

We decided to give her Tylenol and put her to bed - hoping that she was better by morning. Well, morning came and Gloria called back to let me know that Lillie was still limping or refusing to walk - nothing seemed better, but she still was not complaining about it.

I went ahead and called the doctor and set up an appointment, then I headed to grandma's house to pick up the patient. I walked in to see a very smiley and happy baby girl... that refused to put weight on her right leg. She hobbled around like an old lady, but by the time I got her stuff together to go, she seemed to be walking around a little bit more and I was getting more suspicious.

The girl didn't act like she was hurting - she was acting like she was enjoying the attention grandma was giving her. Grandma is a great grandma, very attentive and especially loving and sweet to those grandbabies. If one of them is hurt, by golly they are going to receive the best treatment around. Me? I don't baby the sick and wounded. I try to show them that they aren't dying and that we can deal with things without all the drama. So the more that Lillie was with me (the mean mom that I am) the more she was acting like her normal self. She was still limping some, but it was becoming less and less pronounced and at times seemed to almost disappear.

By the time the examination rolled around I was highly doubting that there was anything wrong with the little drama queen. I explained what had transpired to the doctor and let her know that I was kind of thinking that this little girl had been playing her grandmother. After Lillie was checked out, my suspicions were almost confirmed. I was told that toddlers will do this from time to time and it's really not all that uncommon for them to feign a leg injury. She said one time a mom brought in her toddler because they all of a sudden refused to walk completely. She mentioned that we could run tests, but they were probably unnecessary, instead just keep an eye on her to make sure that she doesn't get worse.

So I brought her home, kinda pouting because my home alone morning had been ruined, but also finding the whole thing rather funny. Lillie is quite a character that is for sure and I did enjoy having her all to myself today too. And just so you know, she isn't limping anymore. Steven told her that she's going to have to pay for the doctors visit...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Did You Notice I Was Gone?

We're back from a little vacation to Mississippi! It was fun, it was a lot of driving, it was a little unorganized and a lot of "I don't know where we're going" - but it all came together for a good time.

We ended up visiting friends in southern Missouri and in Memphis, TN the first few days... then we drove on to Vicksburg, Hattiesburg, Natchez, and the Gulf Coast (mostly the Biloxi area). We did spend 1/2 a day at Dauphin Island, AL too. Then on the way home we came on up the state again and saw popped in to see the state capital in Jackson.

The kids loved the ocean and the war memorials and battlegrounds along the way (especially if there were cannons involved). I loved the old houses and the fact that there is a Sonic on every corner!! :)

We are quite tired of the van at this point and it is in desperate need of a good vacuuming. We logged a tad bit over 2000 miles of travel... and I won't lie and say that it was all good family togetherness, but it definitely was for the most part. Lillie learned the words "mine" and "no" on this trip very quickly...

Here are a few pics of the travels. I can't wait until we can do this when all the kids are older and car seats are no longer needed... but by that point they will find us parents old and boring...

Elephant Rocks State Park, Missouri

Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Armed Forces Museum, Camp Shelby, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Dauphin Island, Alabama

Biloxi, Mississippi

Capital of Mississippi in Jackson

Thursday, December 10, 2009


That boy will continue to amaze me all throughout my lifetime I do believe.... guess who just told me that he needed to go and promptly sat down to do his business??? Yep, that's right... just when I thought it was a total lost cause. God has a way of giving me perspective and reminding me that I pretty much have no idea what I'm talking about, that is for certain. We are celebrating with brownies :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Things Learned from the Potty

1. Avery is determined to not use it.
2. Pedialax lies
3. A proud boy does not equal a converted boy
4. I must come to terms with the fact that I am the mother of a 4 year old boy that will not potty train... and will just have to wait until he's ready...

If you are new to the whole potty training saga (and that really is not an exaggeration) you can pick up at the beginning here, here, here, then here, and finally look down the page at yesterday's entry, and the day before... (told you - SAGA!)

The final chapter all started when I took Avery to his preschool class Tuesday morning and I asked him to please (please, please) keep his pants clean for his teachers at least (he was wearing a pull-up just in case). I bribed him with a soda on the way home if he succeeded. He did in fact stay clean and I thought to myself as we were traveling home - sodas in hand - that the afternoon would be the perfect time to tackle this whole "fear of the potty" thing.

So I put the boy on the cushy donut ring throne as soon as we got home. I gave him the Pedialax and we waited, and waited, and waited and waited and waited some more. I could fill this whole page with repeated "we waiteds" - let's just say that by hour 3 I was determined to see some sort of results. By this time I had upped his Pedialax dosage to the maximum recommended strength (works in 30 minutes to 3 hours my foot...), I had also filled his belly with whole wheat english muffins, a whole wheat waffle, some raisins and a couple of baggies of pretzels... this on top of his lunch and breakfast. That boy had to be primed and ready to go.

FIVE AND A HALF hours later I hear him calling for me (no way did I wait in the bathroom by his side for 5 1/2 hours!) He had finally produced... and at the risk of divulging wayyyy too much information, let's just say, the amount he produced in no way matched the amount he had consumed that day. But I didn't care at that point, I screamed with delight. You think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not! I jumped. up. and. down. I was nearly brought to tears and the little boy was so. proud. I did ask him in passing, "do you think you have more?" "No," he answered quite certain of himself, and I wasn't going to argue - I wanted to keep the delight of the moment.

Avery was on cloud nine! He walked 2 inches taller and repeated how he was a "big boy, yeehaw!" I drove him to town at 7:30 that night to buy him the promised treat of a chocolate milk shake (it was originally a chocolate donut, but the oldest brother got ahold of him... but I digress). All the way there and all the way back I praised him and we talked and we laughed and we cheered, a huge smile on both our faces. So hopeful I was.

Today, I put him straight in underwear. I reminded him of last night's success and I gave him the biggest big boy pep talk that I could muster... and it didn't work. He's right back to his old ways and he could care less.

So I give up. He's probably going to be 35 and still needing a pair of depends, I just hope that he at least learns to clean up after himself rather soon. So I call this the final chapter, because I'm done. The goal is obviously not going to be attained by any strategy that I implement. The boy is going to have to determine that he wants to be trained. It's the policy I had with the two older boys, basically. They were just much younger when they decided the time was right. Oh, for the time to be right.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

So I'm Taking the Final Step...

I think tomorrow might be the big day... or maybe Monday. Anyway, I have purchased the final ingredient (that I know of) that I can throw into this potty training recipe... the last resort has come.

Pedialax - do your thing. So yeah, the overnight stand-off didn't work at all. He sat on the potty for over an hour and even though he finally became a willing participant in that hour and did have some good attempts, it was a no go. And when the boy started nodding off while sitting on the potty, I graciously (or should I say mercifully) put him back to bed.

The next morning I caught him right as he woke up and he went straight to the potty again. At first, once again he was a willing participant and his attitude seemed great... I was getting hopeful because there were a few signs that thing were ready and moving... but the closer we got to an outcome, the more resistant Avery became to the idea.

I gave him a little break - I fed him raisin bran for breakfast - and soon after he finished it, I sat him back on the potty. He was becoming more and more combative though. Not willing to try anymore. I had him sit for quite awhile, but I finally sent him to his room for a break (I needed it too!) I gave him pretzels and water (hoping that things would get very uncomfortable, yet easily moved). I soon had him back for another try - still nothing. By this time he was crying and totally not a willing participant. I determined that this would be our routine for the day - make him sit on the potty, give him a little break so that he didn't develop a permanent toilet ring on his bum, but repeat this process until we had results.

Well, during the break the little stinker pooped his pants when I was busy helping his brother with some homework. I put myself in time out.

For him? I cut out treats - this boy would live on cakes and cookies and snacks. We don't have them in the house very often ('cause I eat them!) but on this occasion I had the-middle-of-the night-batch of brownies as well as a batch of muffins I was making for an event coming up. I gave some to Isaiah, I gave some to Huston, even Lillie had a brownie. When Avery asked for one I told him, "Oh no, only big boys that poo-poo in the potty get brownies." To which he replied, "I can have an apple!" *Sigh*

This morning he came crying to me, telling me that "Isaiah call me a little boy..." I took the opportunity - I answered, "Well, you are a little boy as long as you poo-poo in your pants. When you go in the potty, then you will be a big boy." He answered (rather happily) "I a little boy!"

So I bought the pedialax. I've long determined that this whole thing is over control. He knows that this is one thing that he can still control - I may be able to lead him to the potty, but I can't make him poop. Well, he's about to learn how medical science can even let me control that too, heh, heh, heh.

I never thought that it would come to this --- ok, well I kinda thought it probably would, but I just can't believe we are actually to this point. Here's hoping that my 4 year old will finally surrender to the natural order of things.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's 2:30am... Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

3 of mine are safely in bed. One is in the bathroom... no, he's not sick... just poopy. I was awakened by Avery's crying tonight. I went in to see what was wrong and I could smell him. I checked his pants and the *object* was right there. I swooped him up and sat him on the potty... that was 1/2 an hour ago.

Yes, it's ridiculous. But so is being 4 years old and still pooping your pants. I'm done with it. So we are at a stand off this very moment. Yes, I'm tired and keep second guessing myself. Yes, Avery is exhausted and I feel bad for keeping him up. But it's a power struggle... pretty much has always been a power struggle and by golly I want to win this one.

I've made brownies at 2:00 in the morning in hopes that they will lure him to compliance. I'm not sure it will work. I'm not sure I will have anything to show for this in the end except an extremely moody and tired little boy come morning. Wait, it is morning.

So right now I'm on the fence. Did I just imagine it? Is there really nothing there and I've kept this boy on the potty for this long for no reason at all? Or do I keep fighting the fight until he does something... anything? Why, oh why does this need to be so stinkin' hard?

In the end, at least I'll have some form of a brownie to show for the effort.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love thanksgiving... it's my favorite holiday - the blessed combination of good family fellowship and good food minus the pressure of gifts (unless you do christmas early!)

And good grief, we in America have so much to be thankful for... but we're pretty much to the point of being the spoiled rich kid that takes everything for granted (myself included in that statement!!). In our society thanksgiving gets glossed over in hopes of creating a longer Christmas shopping season; or it's known as "turkey day" and you partake of the bird while you watch football on the television... but let's face it, there is little to no marketability in thankfulness and for that I am very thankful.

So I hope that you do take time this thanksgiving to think of all the things that you are thankful for and more importantly, Who you need to be thanking. Myself? I'm thankful for (in no particular order)...
  • a great family that puts up with me and lives so close, lending their many hands
  • great friends to go out with and laugh and forget the day-to-day stresses and frustrations
  • my husband - he's so smart and keeps a level head about everything, has taught me a lot in terms of staying calm and peaceful (there are many times that I need to learn more!)
  • my kids - they are so sweet and really they don't cause me any more grief than any other child might bring. more importantly they bring me joy and contentment
  • my job - while I don't feel like I can devote the time it deserves, it totally provides a creative outlet for me and is a position that I'm really passionate about.
  • my house - so much room, so much fun, so much to clean :)
So have a great day - go hug a turkey... or eat one! mmmmmm....

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm Blaming Others...

Just wanted you to know that I have absolutely no time to get on here and complete a post these days. I have the beginnings of countless one-way conversations in my edit box all with the red italicized "draft" next to them and I can't sit down to finish the thoughts - and often time when I sit down to look at them again that train of thought has totally pulled out of the station, ya know what I mean?

My hubby is an internet nut these days - looking up stuff on government corruption, the negative effects of the federal reserve and hunting down future guests for his weekly radio interview news program. He comes home, we have dinner, we goof around as a family and then I put the kids to bed while he jumps for the computer chair.

I don't have enough time on hand during the day to sit down and type a full post without an argument starting, a near death experience occurring, an annoyed (or annoying) child appearing or a conspiracy to trash the house is formed. And these days every. time. I sit down to use the computer Miss Lillie comes up and begs "boo coo" while flashing her little hands at me in Blue's Clues style. She wants to watch the episodes we found on the internet over and over again...

So I blame everyone but myself as to why I keep racking up the drafts but not the posts. There may be a time in the near future when I can sit down and think, not be interrupted, and actually get some stuff documented. But as for right now I've got a little girl directly to my right repeatedly saying "boo coos" - I'm not giving in... but I am getting annoyed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


We finally signed all the paperwork that sold our old house to new owners. The buyers seem very nice and I think will be great neighbors to our great neighbors (did you follow me? I'm not sure I did...)

Anyway, glad that bridge is crossed and we can totally focus on ONE house... which is the way I prefer it for sure.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Just Want You To Know...

that every time I tell you about how something is working out or how I handle certain things, you can pretty much guarantee that it all changes once the post is published.

Since talking about how our school day is structured - yeah. it's all different now.

Since telling you about my breakfast and lunch menu - ummm, I do still have a breakfast menu, but it's different than that one.

And since just yesterday when I told you that Avery has regressed in the potty department, I have a little boy that diligently goes pee in the appropriate places again... and seems to be softening his heart towards the other job (I told him I would throw him a "poopy party").

So it looks like if I want anything changed or (un)done around here, all I need to do is blog about it.

So I will now tell you that Avery absolutely, positively refuses to be completely potty trained, and he will never, ever decide that it be any other way! *wink, wink*

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lets Talk About Poop

Specifically? Avery's poop. I am sooooooooooo tired of changing his poopy pants. He still refuses to poop in the potty. He has done it once, and while it wasn't a traumatic event and he was very pleased and proud that he had done it.... he also only went half way and proceeded to do the rest of the job in his underwear.

I had a point of being ok with it, because he was completely trained to put the other in the potty. So while we had one accident a day to deal with, it was only one accident. But he is now regressing and becoming lazy and will do everything in the pull-up because he can.

I've tried everything... and seriously I mean everything (short of laxatives!) But I can't convince him and he doesn't seem at all hurt or convinced by my disappointment, pleading, bribes, punishments, encouragement, etc. etc.

He's four now and yes I must admit I feel a little bit like a failure as a potty trainer... but really how in the world can you make someone else poop?

So I will continue to try and try again and grit my teeth and change another poopy diaper - but man, I'm pooped.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Look At That Bamboo Grow

Chuck Swindoll, a few months ago, gave a message on parenting based off of the Ephesians 6 scriptures that has really helped me put many things into perspective. The overall theme was that parenting is all about nurturing - we are to supply the environment that our children need to grow... and by now many of you are probably thinking right now, "ummm. duh." But really, to me, that little message totally switched my focus.

As a parent of now 4 children it is really easy for me to slip into the reactive mode instead of attempting to stay proactive. It is also especially easy for me to focus on the temporal rather than the eternal. The whole idea of nurturing sets my sights on the long term rather than the craziness that is ensuing in the here and now. When I was a younger mom and quite naive, I used to see my parenting role more as that of a blacksmith... you apply heat and force to the areas you want to mold. Yeah, that doesn't work... well, let me qualify that - it does work with the naturally very compliant child... but I digress (I will go ahead and say that if you continue to have chilren and a majority of those are boys, the odds of them being those naturally very compliant type is slim to none.)

His message combined the few verses on parenting in Ephesians chapter 6 with the famous parenting verse found in Proverbs, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." (22:6) Swindoll intertwined that verse with the Ephesians passage so that we could further understand the concept of nurturing. He broke down and defined each phrase of the verses, unpacking the Hebrew words and bringing further clarity and guidance to parents.

I will not sit here and rewrite the whole of Chuck's message - that would not do it justice. But I will tell you some solid points that I took away from it...
1. A parent needs to create and cultivate a thirst within their child for that which pleases God.
2. A parent needs to train up a child according to his/her way... the nurturing mother makes a study of her child - adapting the training according to the way her child has been made. Because families have been given a particular child with a particular set of bents... this process takes effort and time.
3. You correct the wrong but you encourage the right - you spend more time

He ended with an illustration about how to grow the supreme grade of bamboo found in Malaysia. The caregiver will plant the seed of this plant and nurture it and fertilize it -- taking great care in applying what it needs everyday for years... with no visible signs of growth. This goes on for 4 years... constant care with no physical signs of fruits to their labor. Until year five. That plant will grow 90 feet in 30 days. Boom. Just like that. Ninety feet in no time flat. Kids are so much like that - you poor your efforts, your life itself into those children with sometimes no visible results. You cry out, wondering if they will ever "get. it." and then boom. One day you look at them and you are amazed - you are seeing the fruits of your labor.

Why do I bring this up now? Two of my kids turn a year older this week - I now have an 8 year old and a 4 year old. Children that I have poured so much effort into and children that have shown me so much resistance and there were many times that I wondered if they would ever see the right path. And boom. They are sweet boys that have shown me that my efforts and God's faithfulness is there whether I feel it, see it, recognize it or not.

So happy birthday to my sweet kids. I know I'm biased but I feel that I have reason to be proud of them. :)

Go listen to that broadcast from Chuck Swindoll, it's not too late... Go to and out of the Broadcast Libraries choose May 11-13, 2009 "Secrets of a Nurturing Home."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Busy, Busy

and I'm not really enjoying it. We have a lot of irons in the fire right now. I am swamped at work - everything needs organized, everything needs cleaned, lessons need to be written, schedules are looking more holey than swiss cheese and I am a little put out (ok, really... quite disgusted) with a trend that I am seeing but will not choose to discuss at this point in time.

This week Steven has his radio gig tomorrow night, a meeting on Wednesday night, an annual work/client get together on Thursday night, and he will leave for Iowa with his mom on Friday to help his grandpa move into a new place (and visit... he hasn't had the chance to have a good visit for sometime now). So that will be good that he can go, but kinda throws me into the category of single parenting... but I will say that Grandma Gloria will be watching the kids for me on Thursday before she and Steven head out of town so that I can go to work and organize, clean, schedule... and fume. But for that, I am thankful.

I just am praying that no other strange illnesses darken our doorstep this week. Isaiah's fever is long gone, he still has some coughing/sniffley stuff, and yesterday right before bed he started in with a strange itchy rash on his face. It's not terrible and overly noticeable, just there enough to be annoying and make me curious.

Schooling is going rather well - not exceptionally - but I'm not in panic mode. We've already read through all of our history (Story of the World, Vol. 2) but will be tackling it for a second go around with more in depth study before the end of the school year. I just wanted the kids to kinda get an overview first before I start overwhelming with statistics and details.

Math is at a good place for Isaiah and at no place for Huston, I need to focus on that a bit more with him. Huston has kind of been left behind by his instructor (umm... that would be me) but I again am not overly concerned, it will come soon enough.

Here is a picture of the kiddos that I attempted to take last week when we finally had nice weather for all of 1/2 a day (its been so rainy and dreary - I can deal with it to a certain point because the leaves are beautiful, but still even I have my limits of dreariness). I took well over 50 pictures (rapid fire) and this is the best we got...

and this is a sampling of what the rest of them looked like...

So anyway I must leave you and turn to face the week before me... I will survive, I believe... but if I don't post ever again, you now know what has happened to me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Think We've Dodged the Pig

this round anyway.

All day yesterday Isaiah was not acting himself. You could tell from his voice that his throat was funky, but he had no fever and no other symptom except for being very lethargic. I kept trying to perk him up and tried to tell him that he should get moving and start doing stuff and maybe it would help him to feel better (cuz I'm sensitive like that...) but finally by 7:30 when he refused a movie in order to go to bed I knew that he really wasn't feeling good.

By 9:00 my boy was "awakened" by a night terror and an extremely high fever. Huston and Isaiah share a room normally, but I had opted for Huston to bed down elsewhere last night just in case Isaiah did take a turn for the worse. So after many, many minutes of trying to snap Isaiah out of his anxious state of confusion we put him back to bed and I made a run to the store for some fever reducing medicine (of course we were out).

The night terrors kept on coming and by the third one I just determined I was going to have to sleep (I use that term loosely) at the foot of his bed to head off these weird brain spasms. (*note - Isaiah's night terrors are just times of almost sleepwalking. he is awake, as in his eyes are open, but he is in a different world of consciousness - confused as to where he is and who is with him and he sees things - usually very scary thing to him - that just are not there... they are so creepy... our doctor is the one that labeled them as night terrors). He continued to have them to the point that I was wondering if this was something more than just night terrors. But he finally settled down into some good sleep.

I had made arrangements with my now retired mother-in-law to watch the kids for me today while I went to the office and did some errands anyway - so I just tweaked the arrangements a bit and had her come to pick up the younger three and sweep them away to her house just in case we were dealing with the dredded flu that everyone seems to be getting or at least fearing.

But after a very relaxing day with Isaiah and some information from some fellow moms on facebook, I think we are dealing with a different kind of virus and hopefully Isaiah will be back to feeling good really soon. I just hope that he can sleep well tonight... I hate those night terrors.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

House is Still Going...

So for those of you that are still keeping up with the list, I will now discuss the topic of our old house finally being under contract. I know you are on pins and needles. I'm not so much anymore - pretty confident that by this point the buyers will still buy and the contract will be signed... a MONTH from now. Geesh.

We got the offer on our house sometime in Sept... can't remember exactly when (I can't remember what I did yesterday)... but it was mid Sept. The offer was a bit lower than we had hoped, but still looked pretty good, we were just excited to get an offer truthfully. The house had been on the market for about 5 months - not tons of time I know, I should be thankful, and truly I am. Our savings account was getting smaller and smaller so really the 5 months seemed like an eternity to me at times.

Now back to the offer, it was good, but for some reason the buyers don't want to close until November 17th?? I don't get it, but oh well - at least it will be a nice gift for the holidays.

To further complain about a blessing that will come in a bit over a month... the inspections were done and our house tested on the borderline for radon contamination (from a rather sketchy report) and so now we have to pay over $800 to have our house aired out. We also have a few electrical issues that are easily fixed thanks to a friend from church - but all of this cuts out of our profit and by this point we are pretty much breaking even... 5-years of working hard to pay off a house and absolutely no financial appreciation to show for it after selling the house.

A little frustrating I must admit - BUT, I know what you're thinking - and I assure you that I am thinking the same things...

1. We have "sold" our house in every way but signing on the dotted line
2. We got a great deal on the house we are in now -- beautiful land, huge house, great floor plan...
3. We had the old house financially free and clear so all of the $$ we get will go toward the new house - that's a HUGE blessing and one that I need to thank God and my husband for (he's such a squirrel -- my husband, that is)
4. Hopefully my prayers that the buyers are a good solid family that will be good neighbors is answered as well. That house was so cute and in such a great neighborhood - I still miss it/the neighbors.

So yes, I wanted my cake and to eat it too -- but in the end be aware that I am so very thankful I got the cake.period.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Priceless Conversation

I wasn't with my kids the majority of today. I went to work at the church for the most part and my mother-in-law came to stay with all four of my kiddos here at home.

I needed it -- the time away. This past weekend, with all the traveling and wedding stuff sure took it's toll on me and Lillie has been extra-specially clingy and mama lovey. While I love that in small doses, the all day-every day stuff begins to wear a person down.

I relished my time away today. I had a lot of time to just sit in my office or in my car and be alone -- being alone is so refreshing, and yet something that I don't take enough time out of my day to do.

When I got home Isaiah told me something that Avery said today that just melted my heart. Isaiah said that Avery had been sent to his room to be alone and rest. Avery doesn't take many naps anymore, mostly he just relaxes for a bit. Isaiah said that he and grandma went in to check on him and he was just sitting quietly by himself on his bed. They asked him, "What are you doing Avery?" Avery answered, "I'm listening to God." They were taken aback by his answer so they asked him, "Oh, what is God saying to you." and Avery replied, "He say, I love you Avery."

Isn't that awesome. We should learn a lot from that little boy. How often do we need to just sit quietly and listen for Him... and you know what - He will say the very same thing to you that He was saying to my little Avery.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sharing a Peanut Butter Sandwich

This may not seem like much, but really, it is.

Avery has come such a long way over the past 6 months or so. He used to have such an explosive type personality. If things didn't go his way he would throw the hugest fit every. single. time. We had lots of boughts of tough love and time outs and restrictions of privileges and talking tos and all of that added in with plain ol' growin' up has turned our little spitfire into quite a sweet little man.

Now he still has his moments of grumpiness - don't we all - and while his moments may be a little more vocal than others, it is still worlds apart from which we came. This is the boy that missed out on his own birthday cake last year because he refused to comply with his parent's wishes... this is the little boy that avoided liquids of all types and kinds to the point of dehydration which resulted in an ER visit for an IV ... he was such a stubborn mule.

And he still is stubborn, but hopefully now he is seeing the value of being stubborn for the right things... (hopefully soon, one of those "things" will be pooping on the potty!)

Avery is very sweet to his sister. He tells her she's a "cute wittle giwl" nearly every day. They share a room and are partners in crime in stalling for bedtime, which on most occasions is still a very sweet aspect of their relationship to watch.

Avery loves "the brothers" as he calls them - he plays so well with Huston and he and Isaiah have a really good big and littlest brother relationship too.

I am very much enjoying my Avery. I will admit that there were many times I did not enjoy him when he was younger. Such a volitile little man he was, but now he is more even tempered yet full of such fun energy and creativity. He enjoys entertaining all that will watch him. Now if I could just get him to enjoy the feeling of satisfaction that comes from being completely potty trained...

Monday, October 5, 2009

And She Did It!

Kind of, mostly anyway. Ms. Lillie did in fact walk 3/4 of the way down the aisle in flower girl fashion. A video follows if you want to skip down to the end and watch it. (I've watched it over and over, she's my girl.)

I will now tell you the whole story behind the minute of fame. Melissa and Nick were married in New Lenox, IL - a southern burb of Chicago and at least a 6 hour drive from home. So Steven and I had decided to head on up there a day early to give everyone an extra day of recovery before the festivities were to begin on Friday night and in hindsight I think that paid off really well. So Thursday was filled with the Lincoln Presidential Museum and swimming at the hotel pool and lots and lots of driving in the rain, the. whole. trip.

On Friday night the rehearsal started at 6:00. Lillie had a great day of restfulness on Friday - we checked out a children's museum in the area that morning and followed it up with a great nap.

At this point I was still pretty skeptical about Lillie's abilities and told Steven that I thought we should arrive for the rehearsal a few minutes early so that I could encourage my boys to run down the aisle with Lillie - make a game of it - allowing her to feel comfortable in the sanctuary and with the prospect of going down the aisle. That scored big. Lillie loved the attention and then pretty girl after pretty girl (bridesmaids mostly) cooed over her and told her how pretty she was and little boy after little boy (ring bearers and brothers mostly) buzzed around her and ran her up and down the aisle and generally made her feel like she was the center of attention... so much so that by the time the rehearsal began and Lillie lined up behind all the bridesmaids, groomsmen and ring bearers she was ready to butt in front of them all and go down the aisle all by herself.

When her turn finally came, my Lillie strutted down that aisle WAVING to her audience the whole way down like she was in a parade. Everyone in attendance smiled and laughed and cooed over her some more. It was so funny - and no, I don't have pictures or film, cuz I stink. We left the church with confidence - both mother and daughter - and I was really amazed that she preformed so well at the age of 18 months.

Then Saturday came. I had until 2:00 that afternoon to get Lillie to nap and get her dressed up in her stuff so that we could hook up with Melissa and the bridal party for some pre-wedding pictures and then her big moment. We swam with the boys in the morning and I took her back to the room and kicked everyone else out so that I could get the little girl to rest. My instruction was for Steven to return with some sort of lunch for the two of us and to return in time for us to get to the church by 2:00. He said he would return by one.

I got Lillie to fall asleep quickly and she slept for a good amount of time. She awoke at noon and I bathed her and combed and fiddled with her hair. One o'clock came and no Steven. No lunch. I fed Lillie pretzels and other snacks we had hanging around the room. I thought I would pass the time by trying to iron the boys shirts. That would take my mind off of Steven being a teeny bit late and then we would be ready to take the kids to the church and get them dressed there... which was the plan anyway. I got down the hotel ironing board and iron and turned it on. I tested the iron on the ironing board and then ran it down the collar of Isaiah's shirt. I then flipped his shirt over and started to iron the FRONT of his shirt and that's when the iron LEFT A HUGE BLACK IRON PRINT ON HIS SHIRT!!!! I still did not panic totally. It wasn't really terrible, it was bad but I ran to the bathroom and scrubbed it with a washcloth and it came off. I dried it with the hairdryer and then looked at the clock and it's like 1:15 and still no Steven.

I called his parent's hotel room and his dad was only somewhat helpful. He didn't know where Steven was, but he did have an iron that I could borrow. So the iron was brought and I was in the middle of ironing every one's shirt when the rest of my family finally came. I basically told them to turn around and go back to the van and Steven realized that we had no time to play with anymore. He was detained at the restaurant past his ability to rectify and he did bring us back lunch, but it was too late and too messy to eat it.

We were flying out the door, I am grabbing everything I had set aside and Steven is bringing the van around. I hook up with him in the circle drive and he realizes that we didn't grab the bag with his shoes and such. He runs to go get it (luckily our room was on the first floor) and he discovers that our room key doesn't work! He has to go to the front desk and get a person to let us into the room... 2 electronic key attempts and much time and stress later he returns.

Now we still are not totally late, but we are pushing it. I decide to dress Lillie in the van so that she is at least ready for pictures by the time we get to the church. Steven is driving fast (which if you know Steven, you will realize what a statement that is in itself - my husband doesn't go fast). We make it to the church by 2:00 on the dot - the wedding starts at 3 and the boys are not dressed. We have their stuff with us so I take it into the church and Steven decides to take the boys to a nearby store while pictures are going on and return by 2:30 to get the boys dressed.

So Lillie somewhat cooperates with pictures. She's kind of just thrown into it though and isn't too sure about all the photography strangers she is getting warmed up to it though because she is again gaining attention and praise from all the pretty girls. She agrees to a few good shoots and then she is just really beginning to shut down.

Meanwhile 2:30 rolls around and no Steven. I am getting nervous because I realize that in half an hour Lillie is supposed to walk down the aisle as a flower girl and she is beginning to get really grumpy and vocal with me (I think she cussed me out a couple of times) and I am also realizing that my husband has to dress himself and 3 boys for a wedding and not be late... and he doesn't come through the door until 2:40.

I try to stay calm and I dress Avery in the hallway. Steven takes the two older boys into the bathroom. Meanwhile I need to hunt down the rose petals for Lillie's flower basket and there is a misunderstanding as to where they are located. Amazingly we get it all together with a few minutes to spare before the ceremony begins.

Unlike the rehearsal Lillie is not raring to go. In fact she doesn't even want to stand in line with the ring bearers. I am pulling her to her spot to the very moment of her cue and I push her toward the aisle. Believe it or not she snaps into it and she allows the ring bearer, Colton, to take her hand and lead her down the aisle. She schmoozes the crowd a bit - waves and makes faces - and I have a moment to stand at the back and take the video of her moment.

Then it happens. At about the third row from the end of her destination she drops her flower basket. Keep in mind this flower girl did not sprinkle flowers. In fact every time she dropped flowers she had to pick every one of them up and return them to her basket... and here we were, moments from the bride's entry and Lillie had just dropped the entire contents of her basket into the aisle. Take a look.

Luckily the photographer helped her. You can tell in the video that the moment the basket dropped I almost bailed the filming and ran to the front to retrieve her - because I knew she would want to pick each and every petal up. The photographer scooped the flowers up and while he was doing that the ring bearers got tired of waiting for her and headed on up to the stage. Lillie was left not knowing what she was to do. She was distracted and just stood there. and stood there. and stood there. At the moment I stopped filming, I am then running down the side aisle to come around and up the front and lead her the last few steps.

And that is when the stress came to an end. The anticipation ended and Lillie threw a fit soon after I sat down with her in the audience. The flower girl ended up spending the rest of the wedding ceremony with me while we watched from the foyer. The poor girl was tired and hungry and probably sensed all the stress that I had inside of me since noon.

But the most important thing is that Nick and Melissa had a beautiful day and made a beautiful bride and groom. And Lillie enjoyed dressing up and being a part of the day too. Here are some pics.

The bride with her flower girl.

Lillie after the wedding... in her full ensemble.

The shawl was made by my grandma for me when I was Lillie's age.

The bracelet that the bride, cousin Melissa, gave to Lillie. (she LOVED it)

My good looking family.

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Nick and Melissa

Just as relieved to see the afternoon lived through.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lillie, A Flower Girl??

Yes, this was the winner of the "reader's choice" poll. By a slim margin though - told you your vote would count! Second runner up was to post on all topics provided... which... we'll see...

So I posed this post's title as a question because really the success of this endeavor is highly questionable. Lillie is 18 mos. old and she will be the flower girl in the wedding of Steven's cousin, Melissa, a week from tomorrow.

Can she walk? Of course. Is she cute? Oh, unbelievably so. Will she smile for pictures? More than likely yes. Will she walk down the aisle carrying a sweet little basket while sprinkling the runway with petals? Uh, my vote is no.

Luckily Melissa is a sweetheart and has already assured me that she has no grand expectations for Lillie at this event. She proclaimed that she could "stand there and throw a huge fit and I won't care." (I'm writing down this quote so that I may remind Melissa of her own words after all is said and done.)

Anyway, I kept telling myself that I need to take Lillie into our own church sanctuary to practice and yah, it's one week out and I still haven't done it. The only thing I have done is secure the outfit.

(The white band is some sort of contraption for her to wear in her hair... I don't do girl hair and Lillie doesn't do headbands! pulls them right out... not a good combination.)

I go back and forth on predictions as to what will happen.... sometimes I see her schmooze a crowd and completely flirt with all who will watch her and think that she will eat. this. up. And then I will see her become quite anxious when a total stranger looks at her and think that walking down a long aisle with hundreds of near total strangers looking at her will definitely not work.

Anyway, there is a little boy that will be the ring bearer - Lillie doesn't know him but the little bit of time they have to visit before the big event may be the ticket to success (depending on how gutsy the little guy is though...)

I'll keep you posted as to the outcome. Meanwhile feel free to give me any advice you may be able to offer. Isaiah was a ring bearer once and he sprinted down the aisle holding onto his father's suit coat as an anxious mess! (so obviously I wasn't too helpful in that situation!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reader's Choice

Since I always seem to sit down here to type out a post and have no idea what to write or often feel like what I do write is not that interesting I will let you the viewer have a chance to choose the next topic.

Now I realize that I do not have that many viewers... so vote early and vote often 'cause it really could all hinge upon your vote!

1. Lillie is going to be a flower girl... very soon... at the age of 18 mos.
2. Avery is being very big and very sweet... potty training still ongoing.
3. Huston has lost his mind.
4. Isaiah is almost 8!
5. I am writing curriculum.
6. The house is under contract.
7. I'm a big mean mom that destroys the fun had by all of my children.

So there you go - 7 choices! I mean you don't get that many good choices with a presidential campaign!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


So I realize that my readership may not be individuals interested in how we do the ins and outs of homeschooling. But you'll have to bear with me because the major purpose of my blog is to keep track of the different seasons this family goes through. And while I might set up this routine with schooling now, 10 years from now - if I am still crazy enough to think I can pull this off - I may have our days set up totally different... in fact I'm sure they will be.

I'm not thinking that you all are going to receive so much great information from me that you're gonna run right out and emulate my style... please don't... really. The beauty of homeschooling is finding what works for you and your family and doing it to the best of your ability. No molds here, that's what makes it wonderful.

So with the completion of the school room, I have a much better idea on how to structure our day. I start our school day the night before. I've never been one to plot out lesson plans months in advance. At this point of our lives my style probably is a little closer to an "unschooling" model... but with structure. I want the boys' interests to be the ultimate guide, but I'm sorry if they don't feel like learning their addition facts, tough cookies... we're doing it anyway.

So the night before I sit down and look over what we've been hitting the past few days. Are we neglecting an area? Is there something that lends itself to be built upon? Are we needing to step back from a concept and try again at a different angle and at a later date? All of these things factor into what I plan to do with the guys the next morning. I scratch down some ideas on an index card and set out some needed supplies and then I go to bed.

The following morning everyone gets up and gets breakfast. At times I have some early risers, I have one late sleeper, and one or two that are a little unpredictable. I have a few that are raring to go in the morning and I have one child, (and one mommy!), that takes a good half hour to break out of their sleep-induced grumpiness. So the routine right now is that Isaiah and Avery usually head outside first thing in the morning. Lillie gets into anything and everything while Huston usually stays in bed until at least 8:00 most mornings and I then piddle at the computer until he wakes up. We then get breakfast and by the time 9:00 comes around we're ready to hit the books.

I keep the index card as my tentative rough draft for how the morning will turn out and I begin to tackle that list while taking into consideration the mood and brainpower of the boys. We're not going to do something major if they can't focus... I've been there too many times and it always ends in someone crying (and sometimes it's me!).

We almost always end by lunch time and that's with a few 15-20 minute breaks sprinkled in there. If the boys are really antsy I will sometimes try to hit something again after lunch, and they are usually receptive, but I haven't had to do that very often.

I reward the boys for hard work daily by letting them have free play after a really concentrated effort, weekly by a trip to one of the grandparents houses, and then I always try to make the end of the week a really fun school day of science experiments or an educational video or something rather low maintenance.

Now that being said this week was totally blown out of the water and hasn't looked like this at all. But we will get back on track again - that's the beauty of homeschooling.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lots O' Critters

The boys have been really busy finding a whole bunch of living things hanging around on our property. Most of them have been found with great pleasure. A few have been found with fear and trepidation.

Like the other day when Isaiah came running to me absolutely panic stricken and scared out of his wits. I was at the front of the house with Lillie and Avery and he is flying toward me as fast as his rubber boots could carry him with Huston following behind. Huston looked more confused than scared but Isaiah was terrified and yelling, "Help me, help me..." along with other things that I can't remember and some of which I just plain couldn't comprehend. I finally got him calmed down enough so that he could spit out in between panting and heaving that he saw a "rattlesnake."

I was skeptical, but concerned about what he did see. So I picked up my 18-mo. old and took the hand of my 3 year old and we started walking in the direction of the allegedly venomous creature. (I know, smart move mom). Well to put you at ease, we saw it, it wasn't a rattlesnake it was an aggitated Hognose snake that was hissing loudly and telling us to back off. We oohed and aaahed and then we left it to do whatever snakes do and went into the house to learn more about Missouri reptiles on line and to call our friend the conservationist to ask him some questions.

Now, Isaiah and Huston are all about finding wildlife and I became their personal photographer over the last few days to take pictures of whatever they find. Isaiah will be logging this finds into his nature journal for school and I am smiling at how very easy these science/nature lessons are coming off.

So here are some pictures for you to enjoy (or not, depending on whether you are critter person or not!)

The hornets nest that has been build on our house (we haven't done anything with it because we have never even been dive-bombed by one hornet, so don't worry, but we will dismantle it eventually)...

a big fat toad frog that had made himself right at home in one of Huston's boots...

a hognose snake (this wasn't the one that gave my boy a heart attack, this is a different one, comforting that there is more than one huh)...

another snake (we are waiting on our friend to classify this one)...

and another snake (again waiting for classification, and he was a tiny, tiny baby)...

here are some fun acorns...

and a little moth/butterfly thingy...

a cute little snail...

and finally some "exciting" mushrooms...

Backyards are sure full of interesting things.